The Weekend Project – January 24
In January we must have a weekend project that dreams of a growing season garden. This design is easy and quick to create: we’re making a miniature, private garden retreat. Not a terrarium, not a fairy garden, but a small, personal stage set like landscape in a pot.
Make this for yourself or as a gift for a friend who really needs a touch of spring. These mini-gardens are also good for people in nursing homes or assisted living apartments, and they are nice donations to local libraries and schools as well.
- 1 Colorful pot with a drainage hole about 6 to 8 inches in diameter
- Enough potting soil to fill the pot
- 5 tiny, low-growing plants: ask for “terrarium plants” at your local garden center. Look for plants with different sizes, colors and textures of foliage.
- A small chair, bench, or other miniature seating.
- 1 vertical accessory such as a birdhouse, twig/branch, or column
- Fill the pot about 3/4 full of potting soil. Do not cover the drainage hole or put a layer of rocks in the bottom as these are old practices we know now does more harm than good.
- Put the pot of soil in the sink and spray it well with water so that it’s evenly moist. Let it drain for a few minutes before taking it to your work area.
- Add soil as needed to put the small plants in the pot so that their tops are just even with the edge of the pot
- Fill in between the plants with more soil. Push it gently into place but don’t pack it in very hard – when you water it the soil and plants will settle in.
- Add your accessories such as a miniature seat, watering cans etc.
- Place your vertical element in the back. If any of your plants are vining, such as the creeping fig (Ficus pumila) in the photo, use one strand to wind around your vertical piece.
- Put your pot on a vintage plate from the thrift store, perhaps placing both on a vintage, printed dishtowel.
Water your mini-garden well at least once a week. Feel the soil in between waterings to test if it’s getting dry.
Enjoy watching your potted landscape grow. When the plants start to become too large or overrun each other it will be time to pull them out of this pot and either put them in individual containers or into a new dish garden or terrarium.
Suggestion for maximum enjoyment: sit down for a few minutes and imagine yourself sitting in this magical mini-garden. Take a few very conscious breaths in and out and relax. Affirm that growth is always possible, and winter is eternally followed by spring.